Mid-Week Update: The Juggle, and Defining Success

The last month has been brutal at work, and my fiction writing has definitely suffered for it. I just completed one major project (for the quarter), but I’m the primary author on a report due in a couple of weeks, so I’ll likely be waking at night thinking about youth in the labor force, not my fiction. It’s a very interesting topic; tons to explore, and not much time to do it. (Not to mention the Census website has been down due to the Federal shutdown, so gathering data has been an extra challenge…for my teammates. I get to focus on pulling it all together.) I am blessed to have a day job that’s fun most of the time, and plenty challenging. Occasionally, that means I let fiction slip for a few weeks.

I’m going to bring up something that’s been on my mind lately as I surf the Interwebs, chatting with and reading posts from other authors:
What is with one-size-fits-all definitions of success? or failure? I’m downright tired of the idea that if I don’t make my living with my books, I’m not a success. SAYS WHO?? People are SO FULL OF IT. 
There is no definition of success. For indie publishing specifically, a single metric would be completely useless with the incredibly wide variety of hard-working, talented folks who’ve ventured into self-publishing — not to mention the flood of people who should have thought twice before hitting “publish.” I don’t want to make a few hundred bucks and call myself a “professional writer,” thank you. And I’m not interested in foisting another crappy book on readers every six weeks. That is NOT my definition of success. 
If you want to feel bad because you haven’t sold as many books as Joe Konrath or Amanda Hocking, go ahead. But leave me out of it. I didn’t come here to get rich and famous, folks. I’m an indie author because I have stories to tell, and people reading them is just THE. BEST. FEELING. EVER. 
Let me be honest with you — I don’t know if I’m cut out to count on a writing income. Even if my books were doing very well, I am not certain I could leave the security of my day job. So this “making my living from writing” definition really doesn’t work for me.
My point is…don’t let the loudmouths out there hijack your definition of success. That is in your power to define.
What is my definition of success, for my writing career? Here we go:
  • I write fiction on more days than not.
  • I finish what I start.
  • I polish until my work shines.
  • I publish what I finish.
Have a great week, ROWers and other friends!

About J.R. Pearse Nelson

J.R. Pearse Nelson is a native Oregonian, residing in the beautiful Portland area. She lives with her husband, two small daughters and the family dog. J.R. is always searching for the magic in our world. She weaves tales rooted in mythology, bringing legend to life in modern-day and fantasy settings. J.R. is the author of the Children of the Sidhe paranormal romance series, the Foulweather Twins fantasy series, and the Water Rites fantasy series. You can connect with J.R. online at her website. Visit jrpearsenelson.com.

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